I write these six examples for a reason, I personally wax lyrical for these habits that you can begin to form right away. They're actually deceptively simple and in saying this, I want you to remember to keep it simple to. These are habits I have personally developed for myself born from my own question about life. How do I do this thing that has bestowed itself upon me, life? How do I do it well?
We are predominantly exposed to the end result of people's success stories in the media, magazines or personal stories. They're all very cute and lovely and desirable, though we long to understand the hows. We don't see the hows most of the time and it is here that we can learn something for ourselves. This is exactly where I have been scratching my own head.
The truth is, sometimes the most key ingredients in an individuals story which heads inexorably towards success is so undetectable and subtle. So ridiculously imperceptible even to that individual. For example, they may have been at work one day just about to tuck into lunch. Just due to that individuals positivity that day - Perhaps because they finally decided to exercise the day before - They decided to go for a walk to keep the momentum going. Somewhere different and nice, to sit down for their lunch.
This places them in the path of another individual, who happens to be sat down on a bench reading a book on their Kindle. Just because you happen to have a more positive outlook that day, you decide upon sitting down to just whisper a polite and gentle hello accompanied with a smile. As apposed to the quintessentially British, unfriendly 'my personal space and privacy' type behaviour. You know, you pretend they're not there because you're just a little bit awkward.
This just so happens to spark a polite conversation, the book they're reading is an old favourite of yours. They turn out to be somebody really quite remarkable and in this conversation an opportunity arises, they happen to run a company with which you'd love to work for. You ignore your lizard brain telling you to shy away from things that involve change, and you seize it.
The practices I want to outline really do allow for these tiny little creations of opportunity to arise before you. It is these tiny and innocent day by day moments which gain traction and momentum in your life. Placing you on an upward curve which initially seems to do nothing, yet magnified by the great natural law of time you can enjoy success and richness in your own life. I don't mean success financially, it isn't about being able to roll in it.
Success is about the quality of your life, the richness of your relationships with family, friends and partners. It is about radiating health and helping others to do the same. The ability to give back to those around you who just need a little leg up over the ledge. The ability to know how to use time and behaviour to really make a difference in your life.
Be that person.
Don't give me that crap that 'You don't read' or 'I'm not a ready kinda guy/gal'
You absolutely can read and it doesn't require six Nobel Peace prizes and a BSC Hons graduation certificate. You don't even need two eyes for it! Perhaps though, I feel one reason a lot of us give reading the elbow is because we haven't realised and assigned an appropriate value to doing so. We don't see the point. Reading stuff on social media doesn't really count to be honest. For the most part you're reading gibberish in posts made about what other people are doing or saying. This doesn't help you.
"Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people"
- Eleanor Roosevelt
Articles? They absolutely have their time and place. The reading I'm talking about is in books. Books written by inspiring people, books written about a field of study you're currently working in, books written about interpersonal skills, nutrition, business and finance. Let's get real here, we all need to make a living. So the more we learn about business, marketing and financial, the better equipped we are to make decisions which absolutely make a big difference in your life.
Are you sick of not having enough money? I was, so the first book I picked up on this topic was Tony Robbin's - Money - Master the Game. In just one year my income has trebled, almost quadrupled. What's more exciting and energising for my psyche, I'm still on the way up with many years ahead of me.
Are you sick of falling out with people unnecessarily? Or perhaps unknowingly harming the potential for life altering relationships to flourish both in and out of work? I was. So the book I picked up for this was Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book utterly transformed my outlook and behaviour and in mere weeks I noticed a substantial difference in people around me. Friends, colleagues and strangers. With the great amplifier of time on my side, fast forward two years, the results are profound.
Then there is your chosen field of study, your job. Since deciding to become a personal trainer, I didn't merely book onto a course and wait for it to roll round. I tried to find some reading material that would turbo charge the learning curve, so in this case on nutrition. First it was The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford, shortly followed by the life altering, paradigm shattering Whole - Re-thinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell.
Then to complement, I read some material on anatomy and training protocols and most notably, a book called Strong Curves by Bret Contreras, aka The Glute Guy. These combining influences ejected me to the best position to enter as a fresh face to the industry. An industry where 81% do not make it past year 3. It is situations like this that scare people away from jacking in the monotonous grind of the 9-5 steady job and income, a huge risk and sense of impending failure. That's tragic. That's where Seth Godin's - Linchpin comes in, such a brilliant book which articulates our innate fears and demonstrates a clear why and how for tackling them head on.
You get the idea, as Jonathan Goodman would put it - Creator of The PTDC and a lucrative personal trainer out of Canada - Read for at least an hour a day, 5 days a week. Make up for any lost time at the weekends. Or Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge put it. Read ten pages of a good book everyday. So easy to do, that it is just as easy not to do. Which is why the 95% do not succeed. Harry Potter doesn't count, that's leisure and mental escapology.
Writing is highly undervalued for an individuals personal development from any walk of life. Writing develops your capacity for articulating yourself and relating to people. The power of words can really strike a chord in somebody, we know this since it is reading in the first place that has made a tremendous difference to my own life. Those who wrote the very material which did so, have developed their own writing skills to be able to translate their experiences to the Mary Jane's and Joe Blog's of the world.
You needn't dive right into writing your own 10 part million page series tomorrow, you just need to start small and take the baby steps. For example buying a half decent looking note book you can take a bit of pride in and simply write down your thoughts and feelings of the day. You could write down your dreams and desires and write down how you can do it. There is something really special about writing down your goals and plans for achieving them. This article tells you why.
Which as it happens is precisely what I did. Today, I have written numerous blogs and articles and just this summer, had my first publication in a magazine. Nothing mainstream, however these are the stepping stones to exactly that. You don't just one day appear in Vogue if you're into fashion, or Men's Health for fitness. You develop yourself and gain credibility. As you read you highlight words you're not familiar with so you can expand your vocabulary. You learn from your spelling and grammar mistakes when you write too. Not only that but your spoken word improves dramatically, it is hard not to judge somebody by the way they talk, so there is an advantage to be gained.
By the way, I have an E in GCSE English. That's it.
Your body absolutely loves to move, it longs to stretch it's limbs and reach up high. It adores dynamism and jumping from a height. It loves your soul for allowing it to strengthen its muscles and push its cardiovascular system. It rewards your sensations with chemicals only released during physical exercise.
Why the hell wouldn't you do it? Perhaps you've given up a little bit.
If that isn't enough reason to move, then remember your body punishes you harshly if you don't. Like a puppy locked in a cage, it becomes distressed. Your body tightens up and weakens, the pleasure chemicals cease to fire, your posture and energy suffers. You'll inevitably be rendered fairly miserable.
Then there are those who do decide to move by joining a gym, usually in January. Come March these people are nowhere to be seen. There is a fundamental flaw evident in this cycle, you don't love what you're doing. Also, you're maybe doing it to gain a certain body composition. To look a certain way. To have a modest figure with abs to complement. These goals are fine, however. You need to ask yourself a deeper question here, why do you want these things? If you think that if you achieve these goals then you'll be happy, you're wrong. You won't be happy.
I don't train to look the way I do, it is a nice byproduct of simply moving. What I love is Taekwon-Do, an affair which has consumed 13 years of my life to date. You try maintaining a gym membership for 13 years for the sake of having a certain body. It will not happen because on a fundamental level, you're doing it for slightly the wrong reasons. You need to find an activity which grabs you and doesn't let go. You need to search for that movement activity. It could be martial arts, it could be surfing, it could be yoga, rock climbing, anything. You have to fall in love with moving to a rhythm which aligns with you.
Positive Thought and Visualisation
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
- Henry Ford
The moment you decide you cannot do something is the moment you seal that fate. How can you possibly know unless you try? Sure you could say I cannot jump over a certain height as I'm too heavy and not strong enough. There is merit in this but you'd still be missing the point. It is entirely feasible for you to shed the weight and develop your leg strength to be able to achieve that jump. You only have to decide that you can and you will.
It is usually the people who think they can change the world, that actually go on to change the world.
Scrap that, it is always the people who think they can who do.
With an application to training, visualisation is fantastic. You'll remember Johnny Wilkinson doing it before his penalty kicks. You might remember the great Ayrton Senna on the start line with his eyes closed, Sebastian Vettel does exactly the same. Both share 7 world titles between them. Dan Millman wrote a great book that really teaches you how to train yourself, how to visualise and listen to you body. Where does it all start though?
It all starts with a thought, a positive thought. Followed by the visualisation of being where you'll be when you achieve your chosen goal. It is absolutely foundational to your success in life. You must have that self belief before anything happens, before you even pick up a book.
Let me get one thing straight. The nutritional landscape is changing, and fast.
Eating has become socially dominant, eating has become a rushed affair in the mornings and at lunch time. My word, we cannot possibly expect that not to have a negative impact. If you think 'Ah, can't be that bad'.
You're guessing. You need to know that for a fact before you can say it.
For the purposes of energising you to be able to grab each day with both hands and feet and shake out all its treasures for you to claim, nutrition is a subject you really should be on top of. You're doing yourself a grave disservice in having food on the bottom of your priority list. Given that food takes utmost priority in how you feel, how you function, how often you may get sick, how fast you recover, how hard you train, you get the gist.
Learn about food. I'm not talking about switching on a Jaime Oliver programme and learning how to make a recipe. I'm talking about understanding which foods serve you best and why, which foods serve you worst and why.
Don't have time? Absolute rubbish, you could say that about anything. There are 86,400 seconds in a day. You mean to tell me you don't have 600 of those seconds spare to read 10 pages of a good book everyday? Perhaps on the subject of nutrition? That's ten minutes. A book which has the capacity to make you wiser, to add a string to your bow, to increase your value to the market, to improve your knowledge on what you put in your body! The gift of life you cannot restart, buy or swap.
Not only that, the side effects include greater energy and health, increased longevity of the function of your body. Giving you more time and ability to seize the day. Eating properly will turbo charge all of the above. Believe me, I know.
This is a big one, doesn't matter how much you may know, how much skill you may have, how savvy you may be at a particular job. It is other people who can both open and close doors on you.
As mentioned above, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great starting point. It is silly to just dismiss it because you have loads of friends already. Or because you feel you don't need to learn it. You'd be very surprised what you'd learn in this book. It has transformed the lives of millions of people since the mid 30's.
The story of Charles Schwab emulates these teachings so well. This is a man who is said to have a smile worth a million dollars in his time, which was a huge understatement. What took this man into the millions wasn't his minimal knowledge for steel at U.S Steel Corp, it was his ability in knowing how to manage and deal with people so effectively, so adroitly, that took him to his fortunes and richness in life itself.
His skills were way ahead of his time.
Then there's a fantastic book on body language by Joe Navarro - What is everyBODY saying? This gave me a brilliant insight into the subtle cues of body language displayed by other people. This insight has certainly allowed me to make better decisions with people in moments that can make or break.
Interpersonal skill development should not be knocked on the head.
I hope you can make something of this article, I write to inspire and help people achieve their goals or just become a better version of themselves. It is important to note that a single example shouldn't be undertaken with an expectance it'll deliver an improvement across the board. It is the accumulation of learning different real world subjects that really come together to make a difference.
Schooling hasn't changed one iota in nearly 150 years, <-- Epic 6 minute video you must see. --> So our education into what really matters in this modern world isn't being adequately addressed. I have but 4 GCSE's to my name and frankly, I don't even need those. Does that tell me I cannot do something amazing in this world?
Get on with it you lot, #BeYourOwnHero